35th Secretary of National Defense
2010 – 2016
Honorable Voltaire Tuvera Gazmin is the 35th Secretary to hold the defense portfolio, assuming the post on July 1, 2010. He was born on October 22, 1944 in Moncada, Tarlac.
Even at an early age, Secretary Gazmin’s brilliance was seen in his performance inside and outside the classroom. Secretary Gazmin took his elementary and secondary education at the University of the Philippines where he also spent two years taking up Bachelor of Science in Chemistry before entering the Philippine Military Academy in 1964.
As a young soldier, Secretary Gazmin served as Team Leader of the Home Defense Forces Group (A) and in various intelligence units of the Philippine Army. He then rose through the ranks to command major Philippine Army units, having the distinction of commanding three Battalions namely the 45th Infantry Battalion in 1979, the 26th Infantry Battalion in 1980 and later the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion in Mindanao in 1983.
In 1986, Secretary Gazmin took the helm of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) of President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino where he was instrumental in thwarting seven coup d’etat attempts launched by renegade soldiers, the bloodiest of which was in 1989. In 1992, he was sent to Washington DC to be the Defense and Armed Forces Attache to the United States of America. He then commanded the 103rd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division in 1995, followed by the Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) and later the Special Operations Command of the Philippine Army in 1996 and the Southern Luzon Command in 1998.
Capping his distinguished military career was his appointment as the 40th Commanding General of the Philippine Army in July 1999 which he held until October 22, 2000. During his tenure, he left a legacy that gave meaning and substance to the various thrusts that he envisioned for the Philippine Army, which zeroed in on leadership development, proper force mix, modernized equipment and systems, quality and well-motivated soldiers, training and doctrine development and active involvement in the Army’s non-traditional roles.
Secretary Gazmin is a member of the PMA Class of 1968. To prepare him for the various posts he held throughout his military career, he completed several staff and command courses that include the Philippine Army Officer Senior Course at the Philippine Army School Center, Intelligence Officer Course, Special Forces Operation Course, Jumpmaster Course, Basic Airborne Course and Special Company Officers Course. He took the Command and General Staff Course at the US Army Command and General Staff College in 1985. Secretary Gazmin also holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Manuel L. Quezon University where he graduated Cum Laude.
Secretary Gazmin is one of the most bemedalled officers of the Philippine Army. Among his awards are the Philippine Legion of Honor, Distinguished Conduct Star, Distinguished Service Star, a Gold Cross Medal, a Bronze Cross Medal, numerous Military Merit Medals, Military Commendation Medals and various campaign ribbons. He received the Cavalier Award for Outstanding Achievements in Combat from the PMA Alumni Association Incorporated in 1984.
In recognition of his diplomatic acumen and outstanding service to the nation as a soldier, Secretary Gazmin was made Ambassador of the Philippines to Cambodia from 2002 to 2004.
Secretary Gazmin is married and has two sons.